The Campbell Is Coming


The Book of Ultimate Truths, by Robert Rankin – By now, I’ve read enough of Rankin’s books to notice that there are certain recurring characters who show up in many of them. Their circumstances aren’t always quite the same, but they’re basically the same people. Sort of like Kilgore Trout in Kurt Vonnegut’s work, I suppose. One of the most significant recurring characters is Hugo Rune, the eccentric guru and magician who refuses to pay for anything. In this book, we learn that Rune had written something called The Book of Ultimate Truths, which explains such phenomena as why there are always two small screws left over after assembling something, and why you can never find a pen when you need one. Cornelius Murphy, the protagonist, is sent out by a mysterious benefactor with a taste for cake to find Rune’s missing notes, running into many bizarre comic situations along the way. Proving particularly troublesome is Jim Campbell, often called simply “the Campbell,” a Scotsman who turns out to be a sadistic shape-shifter. Like many of Rankin’s heroes, Murphy is rather lazy and shiftless in his everyday life, but also has hidden talents that prove useful during his journey. As a running gag in the book has it, he’s the stuff of epics. The book is full of Rankin’s typical weird humor, and while I don’t know that it’s his first book to feature Rune, it’s still a good introduction to the character.

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1 Response to The Campbell Is Coming

  1. Pingback: The Stuff of Epics | VoVatia

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